The General Assembly of the Palestinian Federation of Renewable Energy Industries announced the election by recommendation of its new Board of Directors, chaired by Eng. Anan Anabtawi, during the meeting of the Federation’s Board of Directors that was held last March. Eng. Fathi Sheikh Khalil was also elected as Vice Chairman, Eng. Nashaat Othman as Secretary, and Eng. Muhammad Al Khaznadar as Treasurer, in addition to the election of Eng. Osama Amro, Eng. Abdelrahman Hijjawi, Mr. Abdul Hakim Al Sheni, Mr. Saed Abu Salim, and Mr. Mansour Mansour as members of the Board.
The Board of Directors announced the development of a work agenda for the Federation during the coming period, which will focus on addressing three critical issues an in order to overcome the challenges confronted in the renewable energy sector, and necessitates the formation of specialized committees composed of members of the General Assembly and the Board of Directors to follow up on these issues with the concerned authorities...
The committees presented in the work agenda cover the legislations, policies, and agreements, which include power purchase agreements and grid connection agreements with the authorities designated to operate and use the electrical network, secure financial payments to investors in renewable energy projects guaranteed by an approved government agency in accordance with stipulations set forth in the current legislation.
This also includes protecting the rights of renewable energy companies from any impact resulting from the amendments that may occur to applicable laws and from arbitrary or permanent severance and termination of agreements. This committee is also concerned with negotiations related to tariffs, in addition to standard grid connection terms and conditions for solar power plants in grid connection agreements.
The work agenda also includes a committee concerned with technical planning and standards of designs and focuses on the absence of an approved unified grid code, which allows electric utilities to take technical decisions and approve designs without referring to an approved standard or scientific reference, and the consequent approval of customers and developers on the requirements and conditions of electricity utilities to complete projects quickly and without ensuring implementation, in accordance with an approved technical reference.
The committee also focuses on the inability of independent engineers to check standards and conditions in the absence of a reference, in addition to the ambiguity of views regarding the classification and quality of the technology used, and the obsolete procedures adopted by the Palestinian Standards Institute to issue certifications and approvals, which hinders the implementation of projects.
The third committee addresses the obstacles that renewable energy companies face in terms of obtaining information transparently, as the electric utilities have the sole right to approve new project sites outside the authority of law and concerned government agencies in the absence of information and maps that clarify the status of these sites and the potential to invest in them, and the difficulties confronted in accessing technical information about electrical networks.
The committee also considers accurate and detailed information about lands, especially areas that are still undergoing settlement procedures and those classified in Area C, this prevents research and development projects as the absence of accurate information about the current infrastructure is the first step in identifying demand distribution and opportunities.
“The work agenda proposed by the Board of Directors comes at a sensitive and important transitional stage,” explained the Chairman of the Federation, Eng. Anan Anabtawi, “especially in light of warnings to citizens, institutions and the government of electricity cuts from the Israeli side, due to supply limitations” calls for expediting the treatment of issues that hinder the implementation of solar and renewable energy projects.
Anabtawi pointed out that the work agenda committees were approved by the Board based on the many challenges and problems faced by renewable energy companies in the past years, despite the possibility of addressing them with feasible and available solutions if everyone has the will, especially the relevant government agencies and sector regulators.
Anabtawi also stressed the importance of issues that the Federation will follow up on to enable investors to invest in clean and renewable energy while ensuring their rights and the rights of all partners, which will protect the rights of subscribers and final consumers to obtain sustainable and uninterrupted electric energy at economical cheap prices and contribute to battling climate change.
In addition to the promotion of several sectors in the economy and encouraging investment projects, especially industrial and agricultural sectors that demand a lot of electricity and fresh water.
Anabtawi stressed the need for concerted efforts by all stakeholders not only in this sector, but in the national economy to overcome various obstacles and challenges, including legal, financial, and technical obstacles and other problems that may lead to the reluctance of investors to invest in solar energy if these issues are not addressed, taking into consideration that the renewable energy vision represents a national interest par excellence, and should be considered a top priority that involves all partners in order to get rid of electricity crises that harm the interests of citizens and institutions, and negatively affect the government treasury and hinder the progress of the national economy.